“Kafka on the Shore” by Murakami

With every Murakami  my addiction grows and  in this novel as Murakami paints the picture of Kafka on the Shore , my mind paints the two reverent authors together on the shore, a few paces apart.

I get hooked to this novel at the onset itself as I can completely relate to the protagonist: a 15 year old runaway who loves spending his days lost in the world of books in a library where he gets hit by the Oedipus complex.  Kafka Tamura and his alter-ego named Crow (novel specifies Kafka means crow in Czech), together demonstrate the complex issues faced by a 15 year old runaway and ways of overcoming them. Parallel to the story of Kafka, an allegory is narrated completely shrouded in mystery, outlined by the lyrics of the song:

“You sit at the edge of the world,
I am in a crater that’s no more.
Words without letters
Standing in the shadow of the door.

The moon shines down on a sleeping lizard,
Little fish rain from the sky.
Outside the window there are soldiers,
steeling themselves to die.

Kafka sits in a chair by the shore,
Thinking for the pendulum that moves the world, it seems.
When your heart is closed,
The shadow of the unmoving Sphinx,
Becomes a knife that pierces your dreams.

The drowning girl’s fingers
Search for the entrance stone, and more.
Lifting the hem of her azure dress,
She gazes —
at Kafka on the shore”

As the story unfolds, reality gets entwined with metaphors (labyrinth itself is described as a metaphor of intestine), consciousness with dream, direct meaning with symbolism and characters with phantasms. Even as the novel concludes, riddles are left unresolved to saddle the mind of the reader with the daunting task of interpreting the unanswered questions.

The book leaves me befuddled with the sweet after taste of the romance of the other world where time loses its significance and the beauty of the language despite the loss during translation.

This book paved the way to my next read: Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis!!


A dreamer. An intellectual, spoiled by the world of literature trying to find sanity through traveling and expression through Visual Art and writing! Hope you like my expressions on this blog!!

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Posted in Book Review
8 comments on ““Kafka on the Shore” by Murakami
  1. Kimberly says:

    Murakami is one of my absolute favorites! So glad you enjoyed “Kafka” – I just picked up “Norwegian Wood” and am excited to get started.

  2. Murakami happens to be one of my favorites as well. Norwegian Woods is supposed to be his best works based on reality as opposed to metaphorical base of other novels. I haven’t read that as yet, but will pick that up soon. Do share your review of the same!!

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